Discharging Ear

Treating a Discharging Ear

The most common reasons for discharging or infected ears is a hole in the ear drum. A grommet can also be regarding as a hole in the ear drum. To stop the infection behind the ear drum which is producing the discharge you must:

  • Make sure no water gets in the ears
  • Get the antibiotic ear drops through the hole in the ear drum to where the infection is

The eight points below tell you how to do these two things:

  1. To stop water getting in the ears, use cotton wool covered with Vaseline as a plug in the ear canal when showering or bathing.

  2. No swimming (especially hot pools) if the ear is discharging as this will prolong the infection.

  3. If the ear has been discharging, but is now dry, use earplugs when swimming.

  4. When putting ear drops in the ear, first mop out gently any pus you can see by the method of dry wisping:

    • Wash hands before and after the procedure
    • Lightly moisten fingers with tap water
    • Using index finger and thumb, roll single ply tissue into wick
    • Hold in ear for several seconds to absorb debris – remove and discard
    • Repeat process five or six times, encouraging child to lie still
    • Establish a routine of nose blowing, ear popping then dry wiping prior to ear drop insertion.
  5. It is helpful if someone else puts the drops in the patient’s ear as you cannot easily put the ear drops in your own ears .

  6. To put ear drops in, get the patient to lie on his/her back and turn their head so the wet side is upwards. Then gently pull the ear canal open so you can look down it.

  7. You need to put about 3-4 drops into the open ear canal and then gently rub the soft tissue in front of the ear to push the drops through the hole in the ear drum. Repeat three times a day.

  8. Keep the patient lying with the infected ear up-most for about five minutes, (or as long as possible in young children) to let the drops seep in, then they can sit up with a little bit of cotton wool in the ear canal to mop up any excess drops.

A discharge persisting for more than 48 hours should be assessed by your GP and referred on to an ENT Surgeon if it persists despite treatment. A microscope and suction device are used to clean the ear(s) thoroughly and examine the ear drum in more detail.

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